The cost of making music presently is on the high and while it’s every artist’s dream to reap some financial reward for all the time and effort taken in putting together good music for our enjoyment, it does seem the only way to earn this reward is selling as many copies of music as possible.
How can we take away the pressure an artist feels making music as a packaged marketable product and replace that with the joy of making music for what it is? I do not want a dispute between the two schools of thought (selling music or making music free). The aim of this article is to drive enlightenment towards another school of thought which merges the two together. Let’s take it from selling not just the music into selling the bigger picture; Your Brand.I’ll use OddFuture as a point of reference before we move into a more recent development. OddFuture is home to at least 20 albums and mixtapes by the HipHop Collective’s creative artists. All of them free for download. Let’s ask ourselves how they were able to release that staggering amount of music free of charge, draw a huge fan base and go out to be major successes in their respective individual or breakout band careers. What we must realize is OddFuture went from being just a group of teenage friends hanging out together, mastered their act and built their friendship into a brand associated with a number of creative acts that made other people want to be associated with them. The word “OddFuture” and the Donut OF logo was a trademark for merchandise they sold to the fans enticed by OddFuture’s music which was readily available to them.
Building a brand does require you putting in your time, effort, resources and a name that is unique to you but the rewards are far exceeding your imaginations. As an artist not only does your music set its precedence but your brand name becomes your selling point.
Envision a 3-Billion Dollar Buyout by Apple for Dr. Dre’s Beats By Dre franchise and you’ll begin to understand and find ways as an artist to make your brand make money for you. Understand that it goes beyond stamping your brand on a polo shirt.
Perhaps you seek a different kind of reward in recognition for your efforts. Prior to the year 2016, one of the conditions for getting nominated for the Grammy Awards had been the sale of music. In summary, this rule had disqualified music that have no record of sales from being nominated for the Grammy Awards.
Thus Mixtapes and Extended Plays by Artists were not considered for nominations. In the HipHop culture where the relevance of releasing mixtapes had been established, this rule was more of an obstacle for HipHop Artists who make great music but are not being rewarded in recognition or financially because they’re do not sell their music.
After a petition that was started on the internet gained momentum and bore thousands of signatures, that rule was ditched this year and Chance The Rapper, an Artist known predominantly for the release of his free mixtape “Acid Rain” on SoundCloud set the precedence of being nominated 7 times for the Grammy Awards for his most recent album “Coloring Book “.
This indeed marks the beginning of a new era where creative Artists on SoundCloud and the Internet in general are given recognition and rewarded financially for the music that they love to create. What a time to be alive.Thanks for reading, share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Next Week – HipHop Is Truth